Tuesday, 20 December 2011

You're Only Young Twice

This afternoon I went to see one of my favorite living portrait artists, Jonathan Yeo's new show at the rather brilliant Lazarides Gallery, entitled 'You're Only Young Twice'.

In it Yeo documents the stages of cosmetic surgery, painting before, during (occasionally) and after.
Other than the fact that these women have placed a huge amount of trust in Yeo, it still felt as if he was flattering them. Perhaps it is just his style of painting, which I happen to love. The flesh looks like it is melting across the body, and I love the raw, exposed contrast of scarcely primed canvas.

I find cosmetic surgery a massively interesting topic, and one that I feel strongly about. I fully understand and sympathize with the need to change something that is having a hugely negative effect on your life. What I don't understand is the expectation that 'plastic perfection' be the norm.

If I had been able to be in London last weekend I would have joined the wonderfully entitled 'Muff March'. It marched against the increasing pressure porn culture advocates that drives more and more women to the surgeon's table to get a 'designer vagina' and that those going under the knife are getting younger.

Muff March Harley Street, London
That boys (and men) would turn their noses up (so to speak) at a 'muff' is insane. I think that they are bloomin' lucky to get near a girl's muff. It is scarily reminiscent of Victorian misconceptions. I remember reading that Ruskin was so repulsed that his wife had pubic hair that on their wedding night he couldn't bring himself to sleep with her. Ruskin had only seen pristine white marble statues from antiquity and the Renaissance and was revolted. Porn culture, anyone?!

I recommend you see the show, though. It is an interesting subject and one that I think Yeo may develope. 
It runs until 21st January.

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